The fearless youths – thought to be as young as ten or 11 – stole the machine and drove it around Gilmerton.
A stunned resident looked out his window to see the alarming sight and immediately called 999, fearing that the children could get hurt.
But police took so long to attend that the young troublemakers had abandoned the vehicle and disappeared by the time they arrived.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said: “There were three kids on the roller, and they went past my window on a Saturday night. I’m talking about three children – you’d be lucky if they were secondary school age.
“The kids came along Gilmerton Dykes Drive, through Gilmerton Dykes Loan, into the Avenue and then stalled it. They ambled up the park, through Lasswade Road and into the Murrays. I looked out and saw the three kids in a row, I couldn’t believe it.”
He told the News he feared that police were “overstretched”, and raised concerns about a response he was given by police at a later stage.
Officers told him that they had been unable to identify the culprits as their faces were obscured by scarves on CCTV, but he claims their faces were not covered.
He added: “It’s farcical but these guys are just pushed to their limit. All we can do is highlight this and the shortage of manpower. That night, one of those kids could have been killed.”
Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray said the concerned resident had written to him to voice his concerns.
Mr Murray said: “Police Scotland have got their issues at the moment in terms of responding, but individual officers do a fantastic job.
“We are seeing an increasing number of people writing to us about responsiveness. The general feeling is that the response times are not fast enough. These incidents show there’s a problem that needs to be resolved.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we received a call at 8.24pm on Saturday, May 23. Roads policing officers were involved in an ambulance escort and could not attend immediately but searches were carried out by CCTV to locate the vehicle.
“A member of the public called at 8.49pm to confirm that the vehicle had been abandoned nearby and was not being driven. Officers then arrived at 9.11pm to carry out inquiries. The suspects have not been identified.”