POLICE believe a farming family on the Liverpool Plains were targeted after 18 head of mature cattle were stolen.
Bill and Vicki Braun had ear tags and brand markings on their cattle and locked gates on their farm at Coomoo Coomoo, near Quirindi, but still fell victim to calculated, and what police say are "heartless" thieves.
"We're not sure how they got them out, where they took them or how they loaded them," Phillip Braun told the Leader, labelling it "another blow" in the drought.
The 18 Simmental/Brahman cross cattle were aged between two and six and were valued up to $18,000.
They usually muster regularly, but got held up, and believe the cattle could have been gone a month.
Mr Braun said he hoped by speaking out and showing the photos, it might prompt someone to come forward, but also warn others so they don't fall victim.
"Someone might know something, that's all, someone might have seen them," Mr Braun said.
The family have been on the farm since the end of 2001 but have never been the target of this sort of theft before.
"We've been hand feeding on-and-off for the last year," he said.
"[The drought], god yes, it's one of the worst, I don't think anyone alive has seen anything this bad."
Oxley Rural Crime Detective, Senior Constable Les Wallace, said investigators were trying to piece together the theft and had combed the property which had locked gates and secure fencing.
"This was a well organised and targeted cattle theft, with large fully grown cows stolen," he said.
It would have taken more than one offender to muster and transport the cattle from the area and any information about the crime should be relayed to the Oxley Rural Crime Unit or Crimestoppers.Oxley Rural Crime Detective Senior Constable Les Wallace
"It would have taken more than one offender to muster and transport the cattle from the area and any information about the crime should be relayed to the Oxley Rural Crime Unit or Crimestoppers."
The cows varied in red, white and cream colour, but had red ear-tags with 'Coomoo Coomoo' printed on front in nearside ear; as well as their registered brand, 'TCU' with bar over the T, on the nearside rump; along with an NLIS tag in offside ear.
Earlier this week, Oxley rural crime detectives also made an appeal for public help after a 19-month Limousin heifer that was heavily pregnant was slaughtered and had her hide professionally removed near Tamworth.
Police said the carcase was stolen and the unborn calf and remains were dumped on the Currububula property, with the owners offering a reward for information to catch those behind the brutal killing.