Tributes have been paid to a ‘larger than life character’ and celebrated policeman who passed away last week.

Retired police inspector, Neil Williamson Cringle was said to have died peacefully on Wednesday, April 3 at Hospice Isle of Man surrounded by members of his family.

During his illustrious career with the police force on the island, Mr Cringle held a variety of different positions and was involved with in several high-profile cases, including the Summerland disaster.

New of Mr Cringle’s death was shared online by Dean Johnson, who runs the Isle of Man Constabulary Historian Facebook page, a social media account dedicated to chronicling the force.

A statement posted online read: ‘I am sad to announce the death of retired Police Inspector, Neil Williamson CRINGLE (formerly Oscar 4).

‘Neil joined the police as a cadet in 1970 and had a wide and varied career.

‘He worked within uniform, CID, and Scenes of Crime and was also an extremely accomplished prosecutor when the police used to prosecute summary offences.

‘He ran the prosecutions department as an Inspector and finished as the Inspector for Traffic (now Roads Policing).

‘Neil worked on many high profile jobs, such as the Summerland fire as well as a stranger rape that occurred in the lane behind Woodbourne Road, Douglas, where a 15 year old who became a serious serial sex offender was caught using forensic, witness and good old fashioned police work.

‘Neil died peacefully at 5pm on Wednesday, April 3 in the Hospice with his wife, Kath, and family by his side.

‘Neil will be sadly missed and was a true policeman and larger than life character.

‘Funeral arrangements will be known in due course.’

Adding to the statement, Mr Johnson said: ‘Neil will be fondly remembered by anyone who ever met him.

‘A thoroughly decent, good man in my recollection and always smiling.

‘As one former colleague has commented: “He was a proper, old school CID legend”.

‘Rest in peace Neil.

‘Love and thoughts are with his many friends, colleagues and most importantly, his family at this difficult time.’

Responding to the announcement, a number of people took to social media to share their tributes to Mr Cringle.

One said: ‘Really sad to read this today.

Neil was my station sergeant when I joined and later I had a few court contests as a young PC where he was the Prosecutions Inspector

‘I remember making an “absolute hash” of my evidence in Ramsey court one day and apologising to the court.

‘The DHB said “ it’s not me you need to apologise to constable but your inspector may have something to say”

‘I could feel my legs turn to jelly that not only would I be getting a roasting from the court but from Neil as well later.

‘How wrong could I be.

‘He recognised I’d done my best and like the true gentleman and great boss he offered advice and guidance and that’s how it was.

‘Rest in peace Neil you were a great bloke’

Another said: ‘[Neil had] a huge smile and fantastic sense of humour.

‘One of life’s true gentlemen.

‘Rest easy Neil’