The owner of a Sony Xperia smartphone has claimed his device spontaneously exploded while he was holding it, taking the skin off his fingers and causing third-degree burns to both his hands.

Tom Collins, 36, from Bedford is suing electronics giant Sony for £10,000 after his phone reportedly erupted into a "fireball" as he was texting.

Collins described the incident in his legal statement: "It got really hot and I heard a thud. I turned it over and there was soot everywhere, then a flame from the back.

"For about five seconds there was a bright, hot Bunsen burner-like flame coming out the back of my phone – it looked like a rocket.

"In seconds it erupted like a fireball. It felt like my hands had been scraped on the road at 50mph. I dropped it and the carpet went up too. I got water to put out the flames," he said.

In a report by The Sun, pictures of the device shows what appears to be an Xperia Z2, which was released in 2014, with a blackened area on the rear of the handset and its casing ruptured.

It also shows pictures of Collins holding the smartphone with heavily bandaged hands as well as a more graphic image of a finger with a deep, bloodied gouge as a result of the alleged explosion.

Collins, who works as a financial adviser claims he has spent three months recovering from the phone explosion but says he has lost sensation in a finger and thumb.

The handset was sent back to Sony who admitted the battery suffered devastating effects of burning. The electronics giant is however disputing the chronology of the incident which Mr Collins described. They believe the battery had been in contact with water, which may have caused the reaction. However, as Collins points out he had to pour water on the handset to extinguish the flames and was encouraged to buy the handset claimed to be waterproof.

Collins is still using the damaged handset but now has a third party battery installed and it is for this reason that Sony is allegedly refusing to replace the handset and accept liability, but his lawyers are fighting the case as the complainant continues to seek damages after the report claims he lost his job following the injury.

"Tom purchased his phone from a reputable manufacturer. He did not expect that through normal use his phone would explode resulting in him sustaining burns and serious injuries. We're concerned that cause may not be isolated and other users of this phone are at risk of a similar accident occurring," explained his solicitor, Jonathan Flattery.

The risks of exploding smartphones have been put in the forefront of consumer consciousness following the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was recalled and discontinued following a catastrophically high number of reports of devices catching fire.

Faulty batteries or damage to batteries is often the likely cause of smartphones going up in smoke and in this case Sony has hinted the use of a third party battery is possibly to blame.

IBTimes UK has contacted Sony for comment.